Guy Kennaway’s Jamaica is “a little Eden made more interesting by the Fall”.
His book One People is a comic novel, but Cousins Cove is a real village, and the stories he tells were gathered during his first ten years as an idle British expat.
It’s a world populated by wannabe drug dealers, resourceful beach prostitutes and rental dreads who nurse warm bottles of Red Stripe beer and seduce overweight tourist spinsters in Negril.
Everyone has a scheme, and a nickname acquired from some exploit that usually failed to come off, or that went disastrously wrong.
It’s a funny, endearing and deeply human book, and it made me want to go there.
Kennaway is the author of several comic novels and memoir, including Time to Go, Sunbathing Naked, and the 2021 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize winner The Accidental Collector.
We had a wide ranging conversation about Jamaican culture, the legacy of slavery and British colonialism, the surprising impact of all-inclusive tourism, and why he’s a passionate advocate for Patwa, the national language. I hope you enjoy it.
You can follow Guy Kennaway on Instagram and Twitter.
These are the books we mentioned in the podcast:
We also mentioned:
- Speak Properly: Chat Patwa campaign on Facebook and on Instagram
- A short film inspired by the book: ‘One People’